What to Buy (and Skip) in December

Dec 1, 2020
What to Buy (and Skip) in December

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[Editor’s note: Due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, in-store shopping may not be feasible, and some of these items may not be available.]

The countdown to Christmas is on. But don’t let the pressure stop you from shopping smart in December, just like you do during the rest of the year.

Before you set out on last-minute shopping expeditions this month, consult our list of what to buy (and skip) in December in order to save yourself time and money.

Buy: Toys

If your son or daughter is asking for a flashy new toy or a cuddly stuffed animal this year, it’s wise to buy in December; that’s when toy discounts are likely to abound.

Expect great sales close to Dec. 25. And don’t forget about Super Saturday; retailers traditionally offer loads of savings on the last Saturday before Christmas. This year, Super Saturday is Dec. 19. If you want to avoid the stores, order online for curbside pickup.

Skip: Bedding

Cold weather may have you craving a new set of flannel sheets, but don’t throw out your old linens yet. Historically, the best pricing on bedding and linens happens in January during retail “white sales.” These white sales take place at department stores and online.

The savings are usually substantial. In the past, Joss & Main offered up to 60% off patterned and multicolored bedding picks. Pottery Barn shoppers could save 20% on bedding, towels and more. Overstock offered discounts of up to 70%.

Buy: Christmas decorations

The best discounts on holiday decorations will be after Christmas, when big-box chains and department stores drastically cut prices (sometimes by as much as 80%) on artificial trees, ornaments, wrapping paper, stockings and other seasonal staples.

But if you want to buy some last-minute Christmas necessities for this year, expect discounts to increase as the holiday nears. In the past, some Christmas closeout sales began Dec. 24.

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Skip: TVs

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the ultimate deal day on electronics, including television sets. If you missed the opportunity, you’ll likely see additional TV deals in December.

But those who can hold out a bit longer will be rewarded with great prices leading up to the Super Bowl. Check for TV discounts in January and the first couple of days of February.

Retailers including Amazon, Target and Best Buy tend to drop prices of TVs around the Super Bowl. Best Buy, for example, has offered up to 30% off some 4K TVs in the past.

Buy: Cookies

If you welcome any excuse to eat a cookie, how about getting one for free? Dec. 4 is National Cookie Day, and cookie shops will celebrate with sweet deals and freebies.

Last year, some stores offered free or discounted cookies to celebrate. Look for similar offers this year from your favorite grocery stores and dessert brands.